Healthy Lifestyle Research Program
Head:A/Prof Lisa Moran
Phone:+61 3 8572 2664
- Lisa Moran
- Cheryce Harrison
- Anju Joham
- Rebecca Goldstein
- Julie Martin
- Mahnaz Bahri Khomami
- Nadira Kakoly
- Adina Lang
MCHRI has a strong focus on nutrition and healthy lifestyle in reproductive aged women. Our team are internationally recognised in this area and are multidisciplinary across dietetics, exercise physiology, endocrinology, epidemiology, public health, health promotion, obstetrics, psychology, and midwifery. Our program sits across conditions including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), preconception, pregnancy, postpartum and perimenopause. It includes mechanistic research in areas such as metabolic rate, appetite, and obesity impact on insulin resistance and metabolic health. It also includes clinical research on lifestyle interventions, large-scale epidemiological research, health services, and population health research. We have a strong focus on translation and author Cochrane, systematic reviews, international positions statements, and NHMRC and international evidence-based guidelines. Collaborations are extensive and include leadership in a Centre for Research Excellence in PCOS with 20+ collaborators nationally, and many internationally.
A/Prof Lisa Moran: G Cert Pub Health, BSc (Hons), BND, Ph.D, APD is Head of Healthy Lifestyle Research Program, Monash Centre for Health Research Implementation. She is a research dietitian and Accredited Practicing Dietitian and an Affiliate staff member of the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide. She works in clinical and epidemiological nutrition research and clinical dietetics and her research skills include clinical trials, epidemiology, and evidence-based medicine. Her area of interest is optimizing weight management and nutritional status in women of reproductive age with the aim of reducing the impact of obesity-related disease in women and their families. Her specific areas of research within this field include infertility and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and key life stages for targeting lifestyle interventions including preconception, during pregnancy and post-partum. She specifically focuses on clinically translatable interventions, reducing attrition, effective components within lifestyle interventions and mechanisms for action.
By developing optimal obesity intervention methods for Australian women, her research will result in a reduced risk of pregnancy complications, reduced side-effects of conditions such as PCOS including diabetes, heart disease and depression and provide a foundation to secure a healthier future for newborn children. Her current projects include 1) mechanistic assessment of metabolic health including the lipidomic profile of women with and without PCOS and the cardiometabolic profile of cord blood of offspring; 2) assessment of consumer knowledge of diet and physical activity guidelines and accuracy of e and m health resources for lifestyle management for PCOS; 3) clinical models of care for weight management in PCOS; 4) barriers to weight management in women with PCOS across different reproductive life stages; 5) effective preconception lifestyle interventions and 6) the effect of antenatal lifestyle interventions on dietary intake and cardiometabolic outcomes in women and their children.
Post-doctoral Research Fellows
Dr. Cheryce Harrison: BBNSc (Hons), G Cert Comm Research, PhD, AEPis a National Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She is an accredited Exercise Physiologist with a PhD in reproductive women’s health. Her research to date focuses on lifestyle intervention and weight gain prevention in high-risk groups of young women, including the development and delivery of large randomised trials focusing on optimising weight gain during pregnancy and preventing weight gain in non-pregnant reproductive aged women. She has expertise in implementation research and translation, including a lead role in developing a model of antenatal care for obesity management at Victoria’s largest health care provider, Monash Health, informed by research undertaken during her PhD. Additional experience includes clinical trial management and coordination, data management, public health lifestyle interventions, exercise intervention studies, Australian Government engagement and policy development, contribution to National evidence-based guidelines, evidence synthesis and resource development.
Dr. Harrison has several publications, presenting her work locally, nationally and internationally at conferences and in the media and has received international recognition as an early career researcher for her women’s public health research. She is a member of several key international collaborations funded by NIH and NIHR, including the first international Women in Pregnancy (iWIP) consortium for an individual patient data meta-analysis on the prevention of excess gestational weight gain during pregnancy headed by Newcastle University, UK. Recent awards include the Victorian Public Healthcare Award for Optimizing the Health Status of Victorians. With a particular interest in lifestyle intervention incorporating physical activity, she has a broad aim of optimizing healthy lifestyle change as an effective strategy for the prevention of obesity and chronic disease in women. Current projects include: 1/ integrated model of care for optimisation of gestational weight gain in high-risk pregnancies (Monash Health) 2/ intervention sustainability and components of long-term behaviour change 3/ iWIP collaboration for risk prediction tools for Gestational Diabetes and Large-for-Gestational age babies and 4/ optimising exercise engagement during pregnancy.
Dr. Anju Joham (MBBS (Hons), FRACP, Ph.D. is a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellow. She is also an endocrinologist at Monash Health. Dr. Joham has an interest in clinical research in the area of women’s reproductive health and recently completed a Ph.D. focusing on PCOS. During her Ph.D., Dr. Joham was involved in a mechanistic insulin resistance study that examined insulin resistance in lean and obese women with PCOS compared to controls. She also worked on a large epidemiological study and examined the relationship of body weight to the risk of developing PCOS and PCOS related metabolic and reproductive complications. During her postdoctoral studies, Dr. Joham will continue her work with large epidemiological studies with the aim of studying the natural history of PCOS over the reproductive lifespan from adolescence, young adulthood to menopause. Dr. Joham has several publications and has presented her work at conferences both nationally and internationally. She also has experience with implementation research and translation, including a model of antenatal care for obesity management within Monash Health, Victoria’s largest health care provider. She is currently establishing a multidisciplinary PCOS clinic at Monash Health to provide a model of multidisciplinary care for women with PCOS in Victoria. Dr. Joham is a member of the PCOS Australian Alliance and is a contributor to the International Evidence-based guidelines in PCOS diagnosis and management that are currently being developed. During her postdoctoral studies, Anju will continue her work on the large ALSWH epidemiological study. She is also establishing collaborations to work with other existing longitudinal studies in Australia with an aim of studying the natural history of PCOS over the reproductive lifespan from adolescence, young adulthood to menopause.
Julie Martin is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and doctoral candidate. The theme of her PhD is the assessment of diet quality in reproductive-aged women, where Julie has assessed differences in diet quality between urban and rural Australian women and dietary change between those who did or didn’t received a weight gain prevention as part of a larger randomised control trial. Julie is currently working on a cross sectional study investigating the differences in diet quality between Chinese and Australian pregnant women living in Melbourne, with the aim to assess differences in diet quality, and to assess the level of agreement and appropriateness of Australian dietary assessment tools in this population.
Dr Rebecca Goldstein is a doctoral research fellow and consultant Endocrinologist based at Monash Health with outpatient clinical appointments in the Diabetes and Maternity services. The theme of her PhD is to address the effects of obesity, gestational weight gain and the associated adverse maternal and infant affects, with development and implementation of strategies to achieve healthy pregnancies in all women. Her PhD includes a systematic review and meta-analysis of weight gain below and above 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines for gestational weight gain (GWG) in pregnancy to understand the risk of adverse maternal and infant outcomes. She is also involved in developing, implementing and evaluating a healthy pregnancy program for obese pregnant women at Dandenong Hospital that is incorporated into usual maternity care. This evidence-based program is based on HeLPher, and focusses on self-management with skills practiced in goal setting/action planning, problem solving and relapse prevention. The aim is to reduce maternal weight gain and improve maternal and infant outcomes. She is also working to develop a risk prediction tool for use in pregnancy to predict women that are at risk for having infants with LGA and SGA.
Dr. Nadira Sultana Kakoly (MBBS), MPH is a public health physician from Bangladesh, who is a Ph.D. student at MCHRI. Nadira’s Ph.D.’s project primarily focuses on an ongoing large epidemiological study, the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) that began in 1995. Data has been collected from six mailed surveys and includes over 58,000 measures over 16 years. In her Ph.D., Nadira will longitudinally examine PCOS prevalence, its interaction with BMI, demographic and lifestyle factors as well as examine longitudinal predictors of PCOS. The study will also investigate long-term implications of PCOS including reproductive, metabolic and psychological features. The results will aim to clarify the natural history of PCOS and the role of BMI in contributing to PCOS prevalence and its complications. Nadira also holds a sessional teaching position with the Public Health Department at Monash University.
Mahnaz Bahri Khomami is a first year PhD student in MCHRI. She studied midwifery (MSc) and worked as a researcher in a reproductive endocrinology research centre for 4 years in her home country, Iran. Her research activities resulted in 17 publications in fields including PCOS. Her PhD is focusing on the contribution of lifestyle to pregnancy complications among women with and without PCOS. These results will be applicable in the prevention, screening and treatment of pregnancy complications among this high risk group. This PhD project will involve a systematic review and meta-regression, assessment of epidemiological databases including the screening for pregnancy endpoints (SCOPE) study, and assessment of existing clinical models of care for antenatal lifestyle interventions.